Capturing Added Value
JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — Adding value to cattle makes little difference if you can’t capture it. That’s why Joplin Regional Stockyards (JRS) — the second largest livestock market in the United States — is so willing to try new things.
“It has always been my goal to help producers prosper in this business,” said Jackie Moore, JRS owner, who started in the auction business when he was 13 years old. Consider a short list of innovations JRS has undertaken in recent years:
- the addition of weekly video sales to help producers hedge risk;
- the early adoption of assembling cattle for preconditioned sales;
- developing a source- and ag- verification program for customers; and
- establishing a monthly magazine to help customers track the market.
JRS sold 459,000 cattle last year for more than $300 million.
“We have something for every producer,” said Mark Harmon, JRS marketing director.
Opportunities for producers include an array of educational programs. As an example, JRS hosted a portion of the recent Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) Conference, which included information about Fixed Times Artificial Insemination (FTAI).
“I’ve been doing timed AI for the past four years. It’s been the greatest thing I’ve ever done,” Harmon said. “Jackie taught me the only thing you really have control over is how you spend your time. Take the time you have with your cows and make it more useful.” FTAI, he said, is a practice that allows him to do that.
Along with the savings in time by consolidating his calving season, Harmon added, “I can’t afford a bull as good as the one I can pull out of the tank. … When we bred cows last year, I already knew how I was going to market them.”
Though short cattle supplies have lifted cattle prices to record highs, Moore and Harmon emphasized record-level input costs mean marketing deserves the growing attention of producers.
“We’ve got a good market and a better one coming,” Moore said. He noted the current widespread drought means Texas alone will lose as many as a million cows. Between that and an aging national cow herd due to economics, he predicted female value is set to explode as producers in drought areas ultimately build back.
“My thinking is that they can take a heifer down there (Texas) to build back,” Moore said. Buying heifers willl offer producers in drought areas a cheaper way to restock, plus it matches the timeframe and productivity of recovering pastures and rangeland.
“I think heifers in the right situation, if everyone gets some rain, will be worth what steers are worth and more,” Moore explained. “I know feed’s high, but if you can get $2,000 for a bred heifer or $1,000 for a heifer weighing 750 pounds, you can afford to feed more feed.”
“In times like these, there are lots of opportunities. You just have to have the nerve to try,” Moore said. “I think there’s a lot of money to be made on these females for the next year or two.
Moore and Harmon hosted cattlemen at the Stockyards for an evening ARSBC session focused on pratical management tips and the Missouri Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program. Summaries of those presentations and others wil be available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API; publisher of the Angus Journal and the Angus Beef Bulletin), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and liveauctions.tv. Coverage will include summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.
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